Rand Paul As Albatross: Coercive vs. Optional Libertarianism
Michael S. Rozeff
Jim Ostrowski explains why libertarians should not support Rand Paul. One reason “is that Rand will become an albatross around the neck of the Liberty Movement.” I completely agree.
Freedom cannot be gained or held by imposing it officially through a coercive system of government on everyone in a given territorial area whether they agree to it or not. Freedom can’t be won by abolishing government programs, taxes and associated laws. That’s coercive libertarianism. Freedom can only be achieved by making such programs, taxes and associated laws optional. That’s optional libertarianism. Let people live under specific government activities who want to and let others opt out of them who do not want to.
If Rand Paul actually succeeded in getting Congress to abolish some program, say farm subsidies, the majority vote would suppress the minority who believe in that program. Consequently, since nothing systematic had changed, the divisive bickering and fighting over what government should or should not do would continue. The result would be a new political battleground, new coalitions, new programs and new forms of coercion.
As long as the current system under this Constitution continues, there can be no other result but continual political fighting and continual coercion. Majority voting builds these right into the system.
What needs to be done within this existing coercive system that is short of revolution is to subdivide government’s activities into separate programs, each with its own laws and especially its own financing, so that people can see exactly what’s being imposed on them. Each such program should then be made OPTIONAL. It SHOULD NOT be voted up or down by a single overall vote or referendum. That’s what majority rule does and it’s coercive. Instead, each person should be able either to affirm or reject participation in each given program INDIVIDUALLY and VOLUNTARILY. Affirmation then provides an agreement to pay one’s share of the financing costs of that program. Taxes become specific to each program and they become voluntary. Opting out relieves one of both the program and the payments that support it.
Individual optionality enlarges freedom without coercion. It allows the continuation of certain government programs among those who want them to continue, and it allows discontinuation among those who do not want them.
If optionality is not increased in this way, there are other ways within the existing system to enhance it and bring about a peaceful transformation that amounts to a virtual revolution, even under the existing Constitution.